Strategy Analytics: WiFi Hotspots will be Small Cells in Mobile Broadband Networks by 2015


BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The last month has dramatically changed the role of WiFi for mobile operators. WiFi has transitioned from a useful unlicensed wireless option for ‘offloading’ excess mobile video traffic to an intelligent, managed network where subscribers can roam securely. A new report from Strategy Analytics, “WiFi Offload - Roadmap to Seamless Mobile Interoperability,” identifies six levels of WiFi integration requirements and analyzes solutions from seven leading vendors: Alcatel Lucent, BelAir Networks/Ericsson, Cisco Systems, Greenpacket, iPass, Kineto Wireless and Nokia Siemens Networks.

WiFi was a hot topic at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, with infrastructure vendors realigning their products to integrate high performance WiFi into the ‘All IP’ mobile network. In the last month:

  • Alcatel Lucent added WiFi to its lightRadio™ portfolio;
  • Ericsson acquired BelAir Networks to increase its carrier grade WiFi options;
  • The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) announced the successful completion of Next Generation Hotspot (NGH) trials; and
  • Cisco unveiled the industry's first standards-based 'Small Cell' for NGH.

“WiFi is about to become a seamless interoperable element of mobile networking,” noted Sue Rudd, Director, Service Provider Analysis. “WiFi hotspots will soon act as a new type of small cell, integrated with macrocells in heterogeneous networks, i.e., “HetNets.” HetNets with integrated WiFi could significantly lower the cost per gigabyte of new mobile broadband capacity.”

Phil Kendall, Director, Wireless Operator Strategies at Strategy Analytics, added, “In order to complement mobile coverage and provide extra capacity, mobile operators have been deploying public WiFi hotspots for several years. Now operators can give mobile broadband users an enhanced “Quality of Experience” with automatic roaming to WiFi. In a few years, as LTE is further deployed, these users will be able to roam seamlessly—and even use both networks simultaneously at 100 Mbps.”

In a second report, “Mobile Operator Choices - WiFi Offload or Interoperability?” Strategy Analytics establishes criteria for mobile operators to make strategic choices about the level of WiFi integration that will match their capacity needs, network deployment cycles and business models.

About Strategy Analytics

Strategy Analytics, Inc. provides market intelligence focused on opportunities in Broadband and Mobile Wireless Systems. Headquartered in Boston, MA, with offices in Europe and Asia, Strategy Analytics offers annual multi-client services and custom consulting.. For more information, please visit


Strategy Analytics, Inc.
US Contact:
Sue Rudd, +1 617-614-0709
European Contact:
Phil Kendall, +44(0) 1908 423 620

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Massachusetts

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Technology  Consumer Electronics  Telecommunications  Other Technology  Mobile/Wireless